Rob and Doug Ford may have swapped places in this fall's tumultuous election campaign, but the money the mayor has raised to date for his re-election bid can't follow him in his attempt to win back his old council seat, nor can he transfer it to Doug's nascent mayoralty run, says an election finance expert.
"Doug has to start from scratch," said lawyer Jack Siegel, who regularly acts for municipal politicians on election expense matters. "He has to open up his own bank account and keep his own set of books and cannot have access to funds in the Rob Ford for Mayor campaign account or resources purchased with those accounts."
Under section 68 of the province's Municipal Elections Act, every campaign for office is considered to be separate for accounting purposes, and the funds can't be shifted easily.
Mr. Siegel says that if there are surpluses in Rob Ford's mayoral campaign account that didn't come from his own personal donations, they will be frozen and revert to the City of Toronto.
The same principle applies to campaign materials, said Mr. Siegel. If the Ford campaign purchased items such as signs, brochures or fridge magnets, Doug's campaign must purchase them outright from his brother's campaign fund.
Michael Ford faces a similar dynamic in his new campaign to become a school trustee for Ward 1. Any funds he raised during his low-profile race to succeed his uncle in Ward 2 are frozen and he has to start from zero.
Rob Ford can go back to contributors and ask for new donations, but individuals can give no more than $750 to a council campaign, whereas the ceiling for mayoralty runs is $2,500.
The laws do allow mayoral candidates to withdraw their own personal contributions from campaign accounts, if all the bills have been paid, and then transfer those sums to a council race. But it's a potentially risky exercise. In 2010, when Giorgio Mammolitti halted his bid to run for mayor and registered to run as a ward councillor, he transferred funds, but was subsequently caught out by a compliance audit.